Saturday, October 10, 2009

Feeling Ballsy

Pork Ball Noodle Soup

It's October, and pretty rare and wonderful in these parts to still have sun-filled days. But Autumn has definitely arrived with its telltale markings of air gone crisp and evenings more brisk. This is my favourite time of the year because the air just smells better in the Fall, and I love cozying up in sweaters and scarves. But I mostly love this season because cold weather food is so hearty and comforting. At this time of year, the body needs to brace itself against the cold. It needs more insulation. Yes, sweaters and scarves work, but what better way to insulate than to add a little more bulk to your diet and a little more fat to your waistline. I have always craved heartier food in colder climes. I shocked myself once during a particularly frigid Quebec winter, by gobbling up 5 pork chops in one sitting. I don't go to such extremes now, but I still like to warm up with a good helping of meat. Add some hot soup to that and you've got the basis for a perfect autumn meal. This dish of pork ball noodle soup isn't quite as filling as five pork chops, but it's hearty, tasty, a little spicy (if you like), and guaranteed to warm you. And if you envelop these balls in wonton wrappers, you can have Wonton Noodle Soup! Just like that.

For the pork balls, you will need:
  • 1/2 pound lean ground pork
  • 1/4 pound de-veined and minced prawn (optional)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp finely chopped chives or green onion
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 and a 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 small egg for moistness and binding (optional)
You can cook the balls right away but it's best to marinate them in the fridge for an hour or so. The soup can be made with whatever you like so you can choose your stock, noodles and soup fillers, and measure according to taste. Boil the stock first, add the pork balls, then the other ingredients depending on cooking time needed. The pork balls should rise to the top when they're done but cut one open to ensure doneness.

I used:
organic chicken stock, brown rice vermicelli, crimini mushrooms, bean sprouts, carrots, the whites of green onions, and jalepenos for some warmth. It is Autumn after all :o)

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